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MA Screen: Acting

College
CSM
Course length
One year full-time (45 weeks)

Course closed

This course is now closed and will no longer be taking applications. Please look at the related courses in our Performance Programme. Here is the closure announcement.

A Drama Centre course at Central Saint Martins, MA Screen: Acting provides a rigorous conservatoire training, focused on performance for the screen.

The course will teach you to apply your skills to practical screen projects and a wide range of genres. It is part of the Performance programme.

Why choose this course at Central Saint Martins

  • Collaboration: You will work closely with MA Screen: Directing students on camera-based projects throughout the course. Other recent collaborations include work with London College of Fashion, Trinity Laban and Wimbledon College of Art.
  • Comprehensive training: Over the course of your studies, you will work cooperatively in the film-making process. Along with your peers, you will undertake various crew roles, giving you a full understanding of the demands of the film-making process.
  • Diverse student group: Our students come from a wide range of educational backgrounds. This enriches your learning experience, enhancing the choice of stories we choose to tell.
  • Drama Centre: MA Screen: Acting originates from the unique approach and techniques developed by Drama Centre.
A student's perspective
MA Screen: Ex Machina

Facilities

Course overview

MA Screen: Acting provides training for screen actors interested in character-led storytelling. As part of the Performance programme at Central Saint Martins, it offers the opportunity to collaborate with other courses and is delivered in close collaboration with MA Screen: Directing. Studies on the course include acting skills and practice, the creation and production of filmed dramas and in-depth preparation techniques for interviews and auditions.  

Traditionally in the UK, screen and radio performers have emerged almost exclusively after training for the stage and playing to a live audience. Over the past two decades, changes in the industry have resulted in emerging actors gaining their first jobs in the recorded media. Despite this, it’s still rare for actors to be trained primarily for the screen, despite the acknowledged need for it. MA Screen: Acting teaches students the relevant skills, equipping them with the ability to respond to the needs of employers in the screen industries.  

A key focus of the course is the development of the creative relationship with a film or television director. This working dynamic often takes place within a high-pressure environment – on set, in a public space. This requires actors to be confident, flexible and open to creative challenges. Integrating individual and group work, MA Screen: Acting promotes collaborative, joined-up thinking in the creative process of screen-based fiction.

Course units

On MA Screen: Acting, you will begin with classes before moving onto projects. Supported by skilled project tutors, you will take key responsibility for your own development. As part of practical projects, you will not only act but also support in other ways, such as set-dressing, continuity and crewing. These activities are crucial in order to understanding the rhythm of film-making and professional film sets.

On the course, you will work in the Stanislavskian tradition, although there are additional approaches. You will also study camera-related techniques and undertake voice and movement classes. During your studies, you will be asked to draw on your own memories and observations. At the end of each element of the course, you will be required to write a reflective journal summary. This is a key example of the practice-driven nature of MA Screen: Acting. All aspects of the curriculum are intended to trigger a liberal sense of enquiry which promotes personal development as well your professional acting skills. 

For your professional preparation, there are a range of lectures, classes and Q&A sessions with industry professionals to advise you in transitioning from the College into work. Typically, these include professional agents, casting directors, producers, Equity officials and financial advisers.  

Unit 1: Acting and Directing Techniques 

This unit will allow you to develop your contextual, critical and research skills. You will be expected to work independently, and also with your peers in guided seminars and group discussions. 

Unit 2: The Skills of Film and Audio Production

In Unit 2, you will work on acting, voice and movement. The emphasis on the camera rather than a live audience will become increasingly apparent. You will collaborate with students on MA Screen: Directing and teaching will focus on the dynamics of working in a creative team.  

Unit 3: The Art of Film

On this unit, you will work with MA Screen: Directing students on a range of short film projects. You will also work with a professional director to select scenes from screenplays in order to produce showcase films. As part of this unit, you will also be expected to study arts and business.    

Mode of study 

MA Screen: Acting is offered in full-time mode which runs for 45 weeks over 12 months. You will be expected to commit 40 hours per week to study, which includes teaching time and independent study.

Credit and award requirements 

The course is credit-rated at 180 credits. 

On successfully completing the course, you will gain a Master of Arts (MA degree). 

Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications, an MA is Level 7. All units must be passed in order to achieve the MA but the classification of the award is derived from the mark for the final unit only. 

If you are unable to continue on the course, a Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) will normally be offered following the successful completion of 60 credits, or a Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) following the successful completion of 120 credits. 

Learning and teaching methods

  • Classes, workshops, discussions and critiques 
  • Individual and group tutorials, assignment guidance and assessment arrangements 
  • Induction, exploration of course handbook and expectations 
  • Personal reflection and the development of a reflective journal 
  • Lectures, viewings and seminars 
  • Coverage of key terms of critical language for film and critical theory 
  • Improvisation classes 
  • Camera-related acting skills workshops 
  • Movement and voice classes 
  • Feedback tutorials 

Assessment methods

  • Assessment of classroom, studio and location work 
  • Reflective journal including support materials 
  • Performance 
  • Collaborative creation of short films 
  • Creation of an original character 
  • Participate in the production process 
  • Voiceover 
  • Development of an original screenplay 
  • Finished film 

Staff

Alan  Dunnett

Alan Dunnett

Associate Lecturer, MA Screen: Directing and Acting

Course Leader: Michael Bray
Arts and Business and Professional Preparation Advisor: 
Gary Davy

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on disability@arts.ac.uk or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements for this course are as follows:

  • An honours degree in acting, drama, directing, theatre studies, dance, or a relevant art and design discipline
  • Or an equivalent EU/international qualification.

AP(E)L – Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Exceptionally applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A strong academic or other professional reference

Or a combination of these factors.

Each application will be considered on its own merit but cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

Entry to this course will also be determined by audition.

English language requirements

IELTS level 7.0 or above, with at least 6.0 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our main English language requirements webpage).

Selection criteria

We select applicants according to potential and current ability in the following areas:

Essential criteria:

  • High level of intellectual engagement
  • High physical awareness and adaptability
  • High vocal awareness and adaptability
  • Highly developed characterisation
  • High interactive awareness and adaptability
  • Confident and flexible collaboration.

Desirable criteria:

  • Basic experience of screen.

What we are looking for

We are looking for students ready to take on an extremely demanding profession, who are mature and self-confident, and who are willing to take criticism and turn it to their advantage while preserving a sense of humour. You will need to be resourceful and committed to following a postgraduate programme of study that's screen-oriented, exploratory and geared to the needs of the profession. We audition all applicants.

The course is aimed primarily at graduates and mature students who can apply a high degree of independence to their learning. Successful candidates bring to the course an understanding of drama in its various contexts plus an ability to work autonomously for sustained periods with the necessary focus and resilience. As MA Screen: Acting puts a strong emphasis on collaboration within an ensemble, you're expected to show openness, flexibility and generosity in the context of the creative group.

The vocational nature of MA Screen: Acting implies a high degree of proficiency at entry. We do, however, balance this against perceived potential, especially where we identify a clear understanding of the profession and a realistic view of career development and employment prospects.

Making your application

You should apply by clicking on the link to the direct form below. The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following information when completing the online application form:

General information

Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses)

Current English language level

Current and/or previous education and qualification details

Employment history

Personal statement

Your personal statement should give us information about yourself and why you want to join the course (between 300-500 words) and should include:

  • Details of your particular subject interests
  • Relevant experience or abilities
  • What you wish to achieve on the course
  • Your career aspirations.

We cannot consider your application if you do not provide all of the information above.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by the end of September to avoid disappointment. We reserve the right to close applications earlier than the deadline above subject to spaces available.

Deferring your place

This course does not allow offer holders to defer. If you would like to start at a later date, please re-apply in the year you wish to study.

This course is now closed to applicants for entry January 2020. It will re-open in late Spring 2020 to applicants for entry January 2021.

There are two ways international students can apply:

If you are applying directly you click on the link to the direct form below. The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following information when completing the online application form:

General information

Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses)

Current English language level

Current and/or previous education and qualification details

Employment history

Personal statement

Your personal statement should give us information about yourself and why you want to join the course (between 300-500 words) and should include:

  • Details of your particular subject interests
  • Relevant experience or abilities
  • What you wish to achieve on the course
  • Your career aspirations.

Immigration history check

Whether you are applying online or through a UAL representative you will need to complete an immigration history check to establish whether you are eligible to study at UAL.  If you do not complete the check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

We cannot consider your application if you do not provide all of the information above.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by the end of September to avoid disappointment. We reserve the right to close applications earlier than the deadline above subject to spaces available.

Deferring your place

This course does not allow offer holders to defer. If you would like to start at a later date, please re-apply in the year you wish to study.


After you apply

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application, you will receive an email confirming we have successfully received your application and providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal.  We will request any additional information from you, including inviting you to upload documents or book an audition, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

What happens next

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course.  If you do, you will be invited to book an audition.  Please note, auditions commence at the end of April 2019.

Auditions

You will be invited to book and pay for an audition through the UAL Portal.  The cost of the audition is £50.00 and is non-refundable.  

You can audition in two ways:

  • Upload filmed audition pieces via the UAL Portal
  • Attend an in person audition.

Due to the volume of applications received, we have limited availability for in person auditions.  We strongly advise you book your audition early and we often find there is greater availability for the earlier audition dates.  Please note if you are unable to attend an audition you have already booked we cannot rearrange an alternative date for you. In these circumstances, you will need to submit filmed audition pieces via the UAL Portal.

MA Screen: Acting has two stages.  Not all applicants are invited to Stage 2, recall. Recall can only be undertaken in person at the Central Saint Martins Kings Cross site.

Stage 1

Candidates are required to present two contrasting speeches, each lasting no longer than three minutes. Both speeches should be from screenplays or stage plays written later than 1870.  One or both speeches may be replaced with duologue scenes from screenplays or from stage plays written later than 1870. In this case you'll need to bring a partner with you to present the scene or scenes.

Candidates may be interviewed, with particular attention given to the texts chosen, their context and meaning.  In person applicants may also be asked to improvise or do some simple exercises.

Stage 2 – Recall

Following the initial audition/interview, we use a recall system, normally on the following Thursday after your initial audition.  The second phase of your audition may include:

  • Work under direction on one or both speeches or scenes
  • A screen test
  • A sight reading exercise
  • A short test of the ability to hear and accurately reproduce rhythm, emphasis and tone
  • An assessment of your ability to work co-operatively through simple improvisations and devising exercises.

On audition/interview days you will be looked after by current students who will do their utmost to guide you around Drama Centre London, answer your questions and help you relax so you can give the best account of your potential. Auditions/interviews normally involve at least one member of the profession.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through the UAL Portal.

Fees & Funding

Home/EU fee

Full time tuition fees: £18,400 (2019/20).

£1,000 discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course.

International fee

Full time tuition fees: £22,500 (2019/20).

£1,000 discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course.

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.

Accommodation

Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

Our training equips you to work in drama realised on film, television and radio. Some MA Screen: Acting graduates have gone on to work on the stage. An impressive list of performers and a number of world-famous directors have emerged from courses at Drama Centre London.

Alumni include Paul Bettany, Pierce Brosnan, Simon Callow, Frances de la Tour, Paola Dionisotti, Colin Firth, Tara Fitzgerald, Anastasia Hille, Geraldine James, Helen McCrory, Jack Shepherd, John Simm, Colin Tierney, Lambert Wilson, Penelope Wilton and many more.

Adrian Noble (for ten years Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company); film writer and director David Leland; novelist Esther Freud, television director Jan Sargent and BAFTA winner Rungano Nyoni are among our graduates.